Rob Casey is the owner of SUP school Salmon Bay Paddle in Seattle, co-founder for the PSUPA and is the author of two paddling guides.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

How to Hold your SUP Paddle - 3 Hand Positions

It's not uncommon to see paddle boarders holding the paddle in an incorrect way.

What does incorrect mean?  

Standing Position:
- Hands too close together, which reduces power and control
- Hands too far apart. This creates strain on the inner arm and upper back and you'll have less rotation in your stroke.
- Hands not on the handle when standing.  Unless you're doing a short cadence race start, this technique forces you to bend over a bit to paddle, creating less power and control in your stroke.

Kneeling:
Often we see folks holding the handle when kneeling. This increases strain on your arms and shoulders and most likely the paddle shaft will be diagonal thus turning the board on ever stroke (vertical shaft means the board will go straight(er).

Sitting:
Same as above, there's issues with hands being too close together or too far apart.

How to Paddle Correctly - 
I'm always cautious of saying 'proper technique' as folks have different methods of doing things for their own style. But for the most part, the above listed issues do lead to arm and shoulder pain, less power and more work.

Watch this video to learn how to use the Paddler's Box to determine how to hold the paddle when standing, kneeling or sitting. Note when sitting, we use choke up to the blade and use the long end of the shaft for the additional 'blade'.



See more videos and info for holding the paddle, paddling straight and the 3 paddling positions:





Any questions give me a holler. Join my mailing list! Contact me: salmonbaypaddle@gmail.com / 206.465.7167 - Check out our SUP classes in Seattle - Beginning to advanced instruction including freighter and tug wave surfing, coastal surfing, rivers and racing, plus PSUPA Instructor Certification.


Sea Kayak DIY Conversion to a Sit on Top

Inspired by the open deck surf ski cockpits, I wanted the performance of a sea kayak but as a sit on top. My combat roll was never that solid and I like the freedom of putting my legs over the side, jumping in-out anytime and more recovery options in big water.

Kayak fisherman Todd Switzer did the first part of the project removing the top and installing a test interior. Sean Thomas of Echo Composites finished the job with a surf ski style cockpit with scuppers and venturi's and rail leash plugs to attach the thigh straps to.



My first session in the new boat was a success while surfing 5' wind waves in a 25 kt northerly on Puget Sound. The scuppers worked great, the boat was only a few pounds heavier than the original 37 lbs and it rolled without any differences than the prior version.  The skeg will be converted into a pull up - push down variety off the back deck behind the cockpit since we removed the side slider. The skeg never really worked well as a slider, sometimes breaking (cable got jammed).

Parts used:
Boat: 2009 Sterling Illusion
 Scupper: Home Depot parts
Venturi's - custom molded by Sean (he has a cnc).
Foam: Mixture of EPS 1lb and blue insulation foam
Foot Pegs - out of production model purchased from www.nwoc.com

Contact Sean Thomas of Echo Composites for more tech builders info. He's thinking of creating a plug to more easily place a cockpit in existing boats. Doing so manually was quite a bit of work.
Sean Thomas sean@echosup.com in Issaquah, WA























Any questions give me a holler. Join my mailing list! Contact me: salmonbaypaddle@gmail.com / 206.465.7167 - Check out our SUP classes in Seattle - Beginning to advanced instruction including freighter and tug wave surfing, coastal surfing, rivers and racing, plus PSUPA Instructor Certification.


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Paddlers Tips for how to Prevent Blisters and Arm/Wrist Pain

Ever get a blister on your finger when paddling? Most likely it's due to either holding the paddle too tight and/or with all your hand at once.  The key is to let go just enough that the paddle doesn't fall out of your hands. You really don't need to hold on that hard to be in full control, even when surfing, paddling rivers and racing.

A looser grip also means reduced or no pain in your wrists, elbow and shoulders. Many who get shoulder issues are holding on too tight.

Letting go also means you'll have more overall flexibility in turns and other core and full body movements on your board.

Watch this video for examples of how to have a loose grip on the paddle shaft and handle

Tight lower grip (see tension in wrist)


Loose grip, fingers only during power phase


Tight 'death' grip


Loose grip, thumb hooked below T-Grip/Handle

Any questions give me a holler. Join my mailing list! Contact me: salmonbaypaddle@gmail.com / 206.465.7167 - Check out our SUP classes in Seattle - Beginning to advanced instruction including freighter and tug wave surfing, coastal surfing, rivers and racing, plus PSUPA Instructor Certification.




Thursday, March 9, 2017

How to Paddle a SUP Straight

Paddle goes in straight line

Having a hard time keeping your sup straight? Back in the day when I was new to SUP, about 2006, I devised a way to keep my board straight when paddling. I added pressure to one rail, adjusted my trim (where you stand on the board) to where the board would go straight. Then I'd hold that angle for a few miles. Luckily, I overheard Dan Gavere mention paddling straight with a vertical paddle shaft.

There's a few reasons why you're not going straight. Here's what I teach my students to help them paddle not only straight, but on one side. You can do 2 of the three tips or even just one if you have a long race or downwind board with a straight waterline.

Paddling on one side is less work, will make you go faster and have more fun...

1. Look where you're going (not down or to the side, for the most part).

2. As the image shows on the right, draw your paddle blade down a straight line from the catch to your feet. The catch is where your blade goes in. If you follow the contour of your board from the nose down, you're actually doing a sweep turn which is very common.

3. Make sure your paddle shaft is vertical through the power phase of your stroke, so from your catch to your exit at your feet. This means your upper hand is over the water. If your upper hand is over the board, the shaft/blade will be doing a C shape turning the board.

  
      Keep Paddle shaft vertical

For your Forward Stroke - Avoid..

- Pulling your paddle past your feet. A little bit is fine but too much, your body will rotate thus will turn your board.

- Over Grip your Paddle - This extra tension will put strain on your arm/shoulders and limit the flexibility of your arms thus will affect the efficiency and direction of your stroke.

- Paddle with your Arms Only - Make sure to have both arms mostly straight (slight bend in upper arm) thus rotating your torso for your stroke vs bending your arms to paddle. Making sure to reach from your waist (hinging) for your reach to the catch.

Try This...

Count your Strokes - Start counting your strokes on each side. You may notice that you'll get more strokes from one side than the other. For many it's their dominant side. For me, a lefty (goofy foot) I can paddle forever on my left side - but not so effective on the right side. In races when my competitor is changing sides a lot, I can pass him/her by not changing my sides. Downside of paddling on one side is possibly over using that shoulder. Keeping a loose grip (super loose) does reduce arm/shoulder strain.

Fins - Fins can make a difference of whether you're paddling straight. A small fin 3"-5" can not only affect balance but also be too small to really affect your tracking. If the above techniques don't work for you, get a bigger fin. Many race fins are 10" deep and 4-6" wide. Larry Allison's Ninja and Gladiator Fins are examples of popular fins that help paddlers not only go straighter but will make them more stable.  Most of my surf style boards have 9" fins. I use the Ninja for my race board.

Your Stance Affects Direction - Years ago, I called Prijon, the kayak manufacturer for my boat at the time. I complained that the boat must've been warped as I couldn't keep it going straight. I never heard back. Turns out, I was probably sitting slightly ajar in my cockpit. Same goes for SUPs. If you're adding more pressure to one rail than another, your board will go in the weighted direction. If the board isn't flat on the water - nose up or tail up, then this will affect your forward direction. Have someone look at your board from the side to make sure your it's flat (with u on it).


Any questions give me a holler. Join my mailing list! Contact me: salmonbaypaddle@gmail.com / 206.465.7167 - Check out our SUP classes in Seattle - Beginning to advanced instruction including freighter and tug wave surfing, coastal surfing, rivers and racing, plus PSUPA Certification.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

SUP Podcasts & Adventures on Stand Up Paddle the World Radio

(L to R) Me, Darrel and NOAA Scientist Mark Powell
Despite a lot of rain, we have a lot going on here in Seattle when it comes to SUP. Just so happens, paddler Darrell Kirk lives 2 blocks from me. Darrell runs Stand Up Paddle the World which is a collection of pod casts interviews of SUP paddlers from not only the Pacific Northwest but also around the world.

Darrell's page also includes his explorations of many SUP trips he's taken on the Chicago River, 400' under Missouri in a mine, the Salton Sea and many more places.

Check out his site here..


Search Darrell's many pod casts of paddlers, a NOAA meteorologist, families who paddle together, women in SUP and SUP fitness experts.

Check out Darrell's channel on iTunes


Any questions give me a holler. Join my mailing list! Contact me: salmonbaypaddle@gmail.com / 206.465.7167 - Check out our SUP classes in Seattle - Beginning to advanced instruction including freighter and tug wave surfing, coastal surfing, rivers and racing, plus PSUPA Certification.



Yes, It's True: They CAN Shoot You From Shore

Interesting article reposted from Paddling.net...

By Tamia Nelson
tamia@paddling.com
March 7, 2017
Article by Tamia NelsonMany years ago—William Jefferson Clinton was still living in the White House, and Farwell and I were just starting to write for what was then Paddling.net—I was skimming through a not-very-good book on waterfront photography when I came to a chapter titled "You Can Shoot Them From Shore." The subject was photographing boat races with long lenses, but I couldn't help thinking that the title hinted at another, darker meaning. And no, I wasn't being alarmist. I'd already come under fire when I was on the water. A young man—the son of a neighbor, as it turned out—decided to amuse himself by sending a few rounds over our heads as we took the Tripper out on the 'Flow for an evening paddle. He'd apparently concluded that he could shoot us from shore with complete impunity. He was right, too. The long arm of the law often proves to be pitifully short in the Adirondack foothills. The "jes' havin' a little fun" defense may not figure prominently in the statute books, but it commands respect from many rural cops and courts to this day.
In any event, we escaped unharmed from the shoreline shooter. (It helped to have a bowman with no small experience in assessing—and evading—incoming fire.) Nor did the incident recur. But it served to remind me that paddlers can easily pass for sitting ducks. Deliverance may have been fiction, but almost any one of us could someday share Drew Ballinger's fate.
I hasten to add that this isn't very probable. Though something like 30,000 Americans die of gunshot wounds every year, very few of them die with a paddle in their hands. To keep things in perspective, it's important to remember that a steering wheel is our usual companion when we meet a violent end: The automobile is the reigning champion in America's trauma stakes. Back-of-the-envelope extrapolations suggest that one in every 115 Americans will be killed in or by a car, with two out of every three of us sustaining crash injuries that require medical attention at some point in our lives. And far too many of these injuries will lead to crippling disabilities. My conclusion? The most dangerous part of any paddling holiday is the drive to and from the put-in.
That being said, there's still a chance that you'll someday find yourself on the wrong end of a gun. A case in point: Only a month ago, four kayakers came under fire in Arizona. You can read the details in the Mohave Valley Daily News, but here's the executive summary: The kayakers incurred the wrath of a waterfront property owner, who allegedly expressed his displeasure by shooting at them. One quick-thinking boater made his escape downriver, but his companions were less fortunate. According to newspaper accounts, they were held at gunpoint and forced to leave the water. Luckily, none of the four was injured or killed, but the property owner now faces an impressive roster of felony charges.
Could you someday find yourself in the same boat? Yes. Most navigable rivers pass through private lands, at least now and then, and many rural landowners keep a gun within easy reach. But is it likely you'll ever end up in someone's sights? No. There's comfort to be had in statistics. Still, given the often life-changing (or life-ending) consequences of stopping a bullet, it pays to be prepared. You could add body armor and a Kevlar helmet to your gear list, of course, but unless you're paddling down the Tigris, this would be…er…overkill. The best way to avoid trouble is—you guessed it—to avoid trouble. In short,…
Check out our SUP classes in Seattle - Beginning to advanced instruction including freighter and tug wave surfing, coastal surfing, rivers and racing, plus PSUPA Certification.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

SUP Paddle Repair - Tightening or Replacing the Cable on a Accent or Kialoa Adjustable Paddles

I have a few adjustable lever-lock Accent paddles that after two years of heavy use in saltwater from my students, and my lack of care that have cables inside the shafts have loosened, thus the rubber ring on the bottom of the interior shaft doesn't tighten, so the handle isn't secure.

A quick field fix is to tape the interior / exterior shafts but the better more long term solution is to tighten the nut on the bottom the interior shaft, or replace the interior cable if tightening isn't working.

Kialoa Paddles created some videos showing solutions for both..

How To Adjust the Tension on a KIALOA / ACCENT Adjustable Paddle

Watch Luke Hopkins of Accent Paddles give another take on tightening the lever-lock paddle shaft. 

How To Replace the Cable on a KIALOA / ACCENT Adjustable Handle


Find these adjustable paddles at..
ACCENT PADDLES
KIALOA PADDLES - Adjustable Cable Kit



Check out our SUP classes in Seattle - Beginning to advanced instruction including freighter and tug wave surfing, coastal surfing, rivers and racing, plus PSUPA Certification.